That moment……

You know that moment…..

That moment when you realize that the conversation you’re having isn’t just academic.

It isn’t just theoretical.

It’s real. It’s here. It’s now.

I had one of those today. With about 20 high schoolers at once.

It was a wide ranging conversation ranging from the importance of being taken seriously to individuality to social media to the importance of family to reactions to other religions.

Why don’t the older generations take the younger generations seriously? From where I sit, they are still finding their way but have a LOT to offer this world.

Why do older generations think that younger people are superficial? Yeah, a lot of them are, but the ones I was talking to feel like they want to make a difference in this world – and I think they will. But they feel like very few people think they have much to offer.

Oh and then there’s social media – you know, that place where you are reading this……?

So many people say social media is bad. Social media makes you feel bad, social media makes you depressed. It’s all bad.

These kids, they looked at it differently. You know what, they said? It’s just like pretty much everything else in the world.

There’s the good.

And there is the bad.

And you have to be able to weed out the good and the bad.

What else did they say? Even though they don’t like it, family “screen’s out” bed times are good. In other words, every night, their screens go off at ________ time. They agreed it helps them get more sleep.

But they also said there have been times that they have used social media to communicate with a friend who was struggling and help that friend.

And they also agreed that it is hard to be the one who stays home on Spring Break and watches “everyone” else’s pictures of all of their “wonderful” vacations.

So what did they think the answer to social media’s problems is? Some of them thought that avoiding it was the answer. Many of them thought that education was the answer.

Help kids realize that what they see on social media isn’t the whole story.

Help kids realize that what people say on social media isn’t the whole story.

Help kids realize that what people say to them on social media is probably about the same as what politicians say – sometimes it’s true – a lot of the time it isn’t.

And so, if someone looks like they are having the perfect life and everything is going perfect for them, remember, this is a fallen world.

We all have a story.

We all have struggles.

We all have times when “sadness” takes over from “Joy” (think the movie Inside Out.)

And so when things look so perfect “over there” remember the saying, “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.” (One of them brought that up……)

As if that wasn’t enough conversation for the class period, we ended with a discussion about Islam, the US Constitution, Sharia Law, the difference between welcoming all people and welcoming all ideologies.

That is one impressive and though provoking bunch of teenagers.

And I was privileged to get to hang out with them for a while today and talk about things that matter.

Tom

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